Over the last year or so Brussels has seen the arrival of several companies offering the rental of electric powered scooters. The scooters are in free circulation across various parts of the Brussels metropolitan area. Hiring of the scooter is done via a mobile phone application and the scooters may be picked-up and left anywhere on the public pavement network without there being any specifically designated pick-up, drop-off or parking areas.

Until recently, this was an unregulated business without any requirement for any prior permission or licence. The Brussels Regional Government have however now issued regulations for which cover electric and other bicycles and motor and other scooters in free circulation, including electric scooters, and which are effective from 1 February 2019.

Amongst the main features of the new regulatory framework the following aspects are worthy of special mention:

  • All new businesses will have to apply for and obtain a licence from the Brussels Region prior to commencing business; if granted, the licence is valid for three years
  • The application has to include a detailed operational plan covering matters such as number, make, specifications and expected life cycle of, and measures for recycling, the scooters, designation of specific zones covered by the operator, collection and re-distribution methods for the scooters, identification of data collected and explanation of how conformity with data protection legislation will be guaranteed, prices to be charged as well as integration into existing applications for multimodal itineraries and into internet mobility planning platforms
  • The scooters must have mudguards, be able to support a weight of 120kg and be capable of being used by persons measuring between1 1m 50 and 2m 10
  • Operators are subject to various operational reporting requirements and must participate in an open data system allowing for the real time geo-localisation of all scooters on a publicly available platform
  • Requirement to carry public liability insurance
  • Prohibition of any advertising on the scooters but with a possibility of naming a sponsor/user
  • Re-charging of the scooters must be done with green electricity
  • Requirement to participate in an annual survey organized by the public authority
  • The administration must be able to individually identify each scooter
  • Requirement that all documentation and on-line information be available in French, Dutch and English

The new regulations apply only to scooters and other cyclo-vehicles that are in free circulation and do not apply if there are designated areas rented by the operator on the public road network for the drop-off, parking and take-up of the scooters.
Operators already present on the market on 1 February 2019 and which have at least 50 scooters have to apply for a licence by 1 September 2019.

By Charles Price & Sébastien Popijn